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Zeliang denies meeting Modi before pact

By Correspondent

DIMAPUR, Aug 10 - Nagaland Chief Minister TR Zeliang and Assembly Speaker Chotisuh Sazo denied meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi two days before the Naga peace accord was signed.

Making separate clarifications on the statement made by Union Minister of State Nirmala Sitharama that they had met the Prime Minister two days before the signing of the Naga peace accord, both Zeliang and Sazo said they did not meet Modi on the day mentioned by the Union Minister.

The Chief Minister�s Office (CMO) said the Chief Minister and State Home Minister met the Prime Minister only on August 8, five days after the accord was signed.

The CMO also said consultations had been going on with the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and the interlocutor since the last two months on resolving the Naga issue. It said interlocutor RN Ravi had also visited Nagaland where he held a series of consultations with mass-based organisations and civil societies on resolving the issue, but not on signing the accord.

The CMO further clarified that the State Government was not kept in the loop about signing of the accord or framework of the agreement. It stated that as per several official statements, the State Government is yet to be informed about the contents of the accord. However, the CMO said that the State Government is confident that both negotiating parties would work out the terms of the accord in the best interest of the Nagas. It also stated that the Government had no reason to doubt otherwise and hoped that a settlement acceptable to all Nagas would be finalised at the earliest.

In his statement, Speaker Sazo said the 12th Nagaland Legislative Assembly had on May 25 last mandated the Nagaland Legislators Forum (NLF) on the Naga political issue to carry the voice of the House to all sections, including the Government of India and Naga nationalist groups. Sazo said a Parliamentary Working Committee (PWC) was also formed which held its first meeting on July 6 last, where it was resolved that its delegation would meet the interlocutor for the Naga peace talks, Union Home Minister and the Prime Minister to convey the message on the need for a peaceful atmosphere by having a ceasefire with all the groups and request the Government of India to remove AFSPA and DAA from entire Nagaland.

He said the PWC also resolved to send a delegation to meet the NSCN-K leader to resume ceasefire with the Government of India. Sazo said the PWC met the interlocutor and Prime Minister on July 16 and the MoS Home on July 17 wherein it submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister, urging him to expedite the peace process and formulate a resolution of the Naga political issue which would be honourable to all Nagas.

He said details of the outcome of the meetings and memorandum were widely reported in the media.

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